Achel Island; a monastic retreat off the west coast of Ireland where Tappist monks make beer to subsidise their way of life.
In truth, it's a flash of luck to come across Achel in the wild, even if it's one that I've already had the pleasure of meeting, albeit warm from a plastic cup in a Brussels hotel.
Achel 8° Blond is the apt name, and it is certainly blond. Pale gold, verging on yellow, with an exceptional clarity and big, enthusiastic pillow of foam. The nose is pretty enthusiastic too; there's no stopping the ever-so-slightly skunky corn, biscuit grain and sweet barley sugar in the aromatic department, while the spritz of grass is the only evidence of a hop profile. It's better to taste; all grainy, biscuity, syrupy stuff that does well to stay pretty dry, even Orval-ian in its old-world, farmhouse gristiness. As it warms from the fridge it rounds out and becomes more and more satisfying, sort of like a beefed-up, fighting fit Duvel. Certainly, it shows its 8% ABV in a more mature and perhaps demanding way, adding as it does a touch of slickness and booze to proceedings.
If you see it, buy it. To my reckoning, it's quite unlike any Trappist beer I've had.